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Welcome to the 25th edition of the Proto48 Modeler. We are heading into spring and hopefully a busy modeling season. One suggestion is to try your hand out on the new Glacier Park Models drop bottom gondola. It is all styrene with assembly much like the San Juan Car Company freight car kits. I built one and enjoyed the experience and time spent. The end result is a very satisfying model. You can check it out below.

This website is the place to find out information on 1/4" scale products and modeling techniques. Proto48 is a subset of the larger O scale model railroad hobby. We build to exact scale standards for wheels and track gauge.

This e magazine is focused on standard gauge modeling. Proto48 defines a gauge and wheel profile for locomotives, cars and track but it also expresses a concept of finescale modeling. Our models start out with the correct gauge of 4' 8 1/2" and scale wheel profile and continue throughout the model to create an accurately scaled replica of the prototype.

Even a Lionel tank car can be upgraded to an accurate Proto48 model.

Quarter-inch scale offers railroad modelers a huge potential in terms of size and mass. It is big enough to permit the craftsman to accurately portray things like underbody details, doors, roof walks and ladders. Proto48 standard gauge modelers tend to strive for higher levels of detail and accuracy like their narrow gauge brethren.

Proto48 is more than just model making it covers the building of layouts and the inclusion of prototypical operations. There are an amazing number of P48 layouts being construction around the country. They range in size from switching layouts to large railroads with many hundred feet of scale track. Check out the layout page on the Protocraft website to see a few of the layouts built or being built.


If you don't have room or time to build a layout, you may be lucky enough to find some fellow modelers in your area that you can share your interest.

You will find a number of new items listed. We can always use more material that will permit more issues to be published each year. As always we are indebted to the modelers who take the time to send material to share with others. We hope that this spirit of sharing will continue allowing us to bring fresh material to the web so that it can be enjoyed by everyone.

Lead Photo: The photo of this rebuilt single sheathed car is the combined work of Jim Zwernemann who did the patterns and built the model and Lee Turner who painted, lettered and weathered the car. The decals are available from Protocraft.com

Proto48 Blogs on the Web

Blogs are becoming a popular way to communicate with modelers of similar interests.   There have been a few blogs that have been going for some time and a new one or two.

George Losse has been running a website for some time that is informative and entertaining. He travels to a lot of the O scale shows on the East Coast and provides a narrative and photos of his visits. George will often get pictures of new products that are being shown. You will find a number of helpful ideas and techniques as he builds his Reading Company Shamokin Division railroad in P48.

OST Blog

Mike Cougill is another blogger who provides an informative and useful discussion on modeling. You will find interesting material his current and past blogs.

Gene's P48 Blog
I decided to try a blog as a method of sharing my layout and model building experiences.  Layout building is new to me and the blog is a way of gathering information from other modelers.

Recent articles posted on my blog include a Mather car build, scenery on my layout and a wood meat reefer build. The following pictures illustrate some of the topics.

Updates to the Site:

  • New products that are usable by Proto48

Industry News, Shows and New Products:

The latest information about new and interesting products that are useful the Proto48 modeler as shown below:

  • Railroad Model Craftsman has successfully transitioned to White River Publications. So far, the new RMC is an improvement in layout, content and appearance.
  • Weaver Models has ceased operations. Their Scale Coat paint line has been sold to Minuteman Scale Models in Pepperell, MA.

Regional O Scale Shows with Proto48 Content:

O Scale West Convention
5-7 May 2016 Santa Clara, CA

O Scale West will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center as in previous years.You can obtain more information about the event at this site http://www.oscalewest.com

Chicago Midwest O Scale Meet
1-3 April 2016, Lombard, IL

The show is held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. The show has a huge selling floor, operating layouts including a Proto48 modular display. Visit their website for more details.

Please note that the Chicago and Santa Clara shows are later this year due to conflicts with exhibit and hotel space. Santa Clara hosted Super Bowl #50 this year during the usual show dates.

Each year, the Chicago Midwest O Scale Meet has a wide variety of sellers and lots of models in their contest. Some very nice modelers have been entered in this event.

Indianapolis O Scale Fall, Convention
July 8-10, 2016

This year the show is combined with the NMRA National convention to be held in Indianapolis.. James Canter will be heading up the show. If you live in the area, you should consider going.

Railroad Prototype Modelers (RPM):

Railroad Prototype Modeler meetings have become major events in the world of prototype modeling. For years, the Naperville, IL show provided a unique opportunity to take in multiple clinics and presentations, hundreds of fine models and lots of photo vendors and kit suppliers. The show changed location and to Lisle, IL.

You can now attend an excellent show in Coco Beach, FL in January, Collinsville, Illinois in August, Lisle, IL in October and the Western Prototype Meet in San Bernardino, CA in March. There additional shows in other parts of the country. You can visit the RPM website for the particulars.

These shows have been mostly HO and N but the shows are attended by a number of Proto48 modelers. The recent Collinsville show had a P48 meeting and nine P48 modelers attended.

Stocking Dealers:

Des Plaines Hobbies
1524 Lee St, Des Plaines, IL 60018

The shop moved to a new location in the same shopping center. The new store is even larger than the previous location. They stock 1/48 scale and building supplies.

Caboose Hobbies
500 South Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
Stocks San Juan trucks and wheels

Coronado Scale Models
1544 Cypress Street, Phoenix, AZ  85006
(602) 254-9656

This shop has served the needs of fine scale modelers for over 40 years. The owners are active scale modeler having produced some beautiful locomotives and cars. Their shop offers excellent mail order service and knowledgeable assistance. You might check out the Photo Gallery for some of Stan Schwedler's fine work.

Sources of Prototype Information:

Railway Prototype Cyclopedia
RP CYC Publications Co.
P.O. Box 451
Chesterfield, MO 63006

The latest volume (#30) was released in the Fall. We can expect an announcement of the latest issue this Spring. The book series is the most definitive set of prototype railroad information published in our hobby. You will find a huge amount of detailed information on freight cars, AAR regulations and other topics. Over the years, RPC has shed light on many mysteries on freight car ownership, design, decoration.

Steam Era Freight Cars

This website is a useful resource if you are looking for prototype or model information on freight cars. While the site had not been updated in several years, it still has a ton of worthwhile information.

Supplier News:

American Switch & Signal
13052 Ratliff Run
Fishers, IN 46037-6266

John Pautz continues to be a supplier of switch parts for the Proto48 community. All of the parts are made from Right O' Way rail and are cast in nickel silver. He has a wide range of frogs, guard rails and points for popular rail sizes. See the latest brochure in the Suppliers section.

All of the parts are done to Proto48 track standards.

Latest Catalog

O Scale Turnouts, INC
P.O. Box 8183052 Ratliff Run
Hamburg, MI 48139

O Scale Turnouts has a new #6 Code 100 turnout ready. This is available in addition to the #8 Code 125 turnouts that has been out for a while. The rail is nickel silver that is soldered to several PC board ties. The balance of ties are stained wood with the rail bonded using an epoxy adhesive. The key components used are from American Switch & Signal and are cast nickel silver. The sample turnout is in-gauge and flows nicely. It has gaps to isolate the frog for DCC operation.

These products should start to fill a gap for those who want to use flex-track and pre-built turnouts. Please respond to O Scale Turnouts and support the product.

Buffalo Landing Detail Parts
P.O. Box 7
Bay View
Napier 4149, New Zealand

Buffalo Landing Detail Parts has been producing some very interesting detail sets for the 1/4” scale modeler.   They have focused on narrow gauge but most of their sets are directly applicable to standard gauge.  They several white metal figure sets and a 1937 Pontiac sedan cast in urethane.   The Proto48 Modeler recently received a sample of their figure sets and have to rate them very highly.  

Most of their product line can be obtained directly from New Zealand or from Coronado Scale Models in Phoenix.   

Burlington Roundhouse
Milepost 206 Publishing, Inc.
P.O. Box 543
West Burlington, IA 52655

Burlington Roundhouse is a small supplier of detail parts for first generation EMD hood units. Their first releases are very impressive with a variety of steam generator and metallic steam lines for first generation GP and SD locomotives. The parts are shown on CB&Q diesels but they would work for a wide range of prototype roads.

Forsyth Rail Services
6331 State Route 2067
Susquehanna, PA 18847

Matt is a very talented builder in brass.  He has established an excellent reputation for loco conversions to Proto48 and for major rebuilding of imported brass.  His workmanship, painting and finishing is first rate.   Recently, Matt rebuilt a N&W K-1 from the ground up for the publisher of O Scale Trains.   Go to Matt’s website and enjoy his photo essay on the conversion. 

If you have a pet project that is in need of professional help, check out Matt. 


Archer Transfers
PO Box 1277
Youngsville, NC 27596

Archer Transfers has solved one of the more difficult problems in modeling steel equipment.   They have invented a process to deposit a 3D resin on Microscale clear decal film.   They have expanded their line to include various rivet patterns and sizes, safety tread material, fasteners, panel lines and even louvers.   The product is very useful not only to solve difficult fabrication projects but it also saves a lot of time.   The decal is cut out and applied to the model like a normal Microscale product.   We recommend you do not use any decal solvent until it is has evaporated all of the water and you are happy with the position.   Then you can apply the solvent around the edges.   The film will disappear.   The decals must be covered with paint since it will chip off otherwise.  

Rails Unlimited
126 Will Scarlet
Elgin, IL

Rails Unlimited purchased the old line of Chooch urethane kits that were sold to Berkshire Valley.   In addition, Rails Unlimited has released a new kit for a Lehigh Valley wood sheathed boxcar.   The patterns were done by Lee Turner.   The kit comes with a Duryea underframe found on the prototype cars.   Ted announced his latest urethane kit for the Northern Pacific 36' double sheathed boxcar.   He also releasing a series of 1932 ARA steel boxcars based upon the old Turner patterns.

Glacier Park Models
P.O. Box 244
Ukiah, CA 95482
707-391-4476 (voice), 707-463-6988 (fax)

The SP drop bottom kit is a reality after some twenty years of waiting and hoping.

Glacier Park Models will start shipping the early in September. The price is $99.50 plus $12.50 shipping. I think you will agree the quality and accuracy of the kit is worth the wait and price.

Jimmy Booth has released the new kit and it is available for shipment. The kit comes less trucks, couplers and decals. A specially made lead weight set is available from Glacier Park for $12.00 plus shipping.

Glacier Park has nearly sold out on the Mallet series. They are expected in the country shortly. Hopefully, you have one on order or can find one available at a dealer. They are spectacular.

See the following catalog pages for images of the prototypes:

Tank loco flyer page 1

Tank loco flyer page 2

Tank loco flyer page 3

O Scale Resource Magazine

Glenn Guerra and Dan Dawdy have launched a new online magazine called the O Scale Resource Magazine.   The first issue is now available on their website and is free.   Their first effort is well done and is a worthwhile read.    The magazine will be published bimonthly and be available online.   You can also sign up to receive a notification when the next issue is released.


OST Publications
PO Box 297, Richmond, Indiana 47375


Mike Cougill has a wonderful source of information on scale modeling. The OST Publications has developed into a excellent source of data on their website. He publishes a series of eBooks called the "Missing Conversation". They are worthy of your attention. Mike also conducts a blog with some fascinating topics. He will challenge you to think about what you are doing in the hobby.

RY Models
7 Edgedale Court
Wyomissing, PA 19610

RY Models is planning to import a series of Mather built freight cars. They are showing the stock car and single sheathed boxcars built by the Mather Company.

Visit their website to catch up on their new releases and pricing.

PO Box 21
Vineburg, CA 95487-0021
(707) 935-7011 (voice message)

Protocraft has introduced a series of new brass boxcars based on the 1937 AAR boxcar. The models are patterned after specific appliances ordered by railroads. The cars draw upon actual car builder drawing and photos to ensure accuracy. The Recent releases of the GN and ATSF Bx-27 with Duryea underframes are sold out. Only a few of the Birmingham Southern and W&LE are left in stock.

Next up is a series of C&O, PM, CE&I & Erie 1936 AAR boxcars. A total of 836 models in 32 prototypes are being imported.

Protocraft continues to introduce new versions of the working scale AAR Type-E and changes to the new scale draft gear. The latest version of the coupler is a top operate style with working link on top for operating the coupler. They also work with a magnet like previous versions.

In addition, the scale Gould draft gear has added detail and a modified mounting pint. The wedge has been removed from the pin so the coupler will extend out further from the striker. You can remove the wedge from older boxes with a sharp knife if you desire.

They continue to produce a wonderful array of decal sets for a wide variety of prototype cars and roads. As with all of their decals, they are printed by Microscale using original artwork based upon actual photos.

New Andrews 50-ton trucks have arrived at Protocraft. The trucks are equipped with ball bearings and have opening journal lids. A few more surprises are coming soon so stay tuned.

RL Design
14123 206th St.
S.E., Snohomish, WA 98296-3947

Rick Leach has prepared a new decal set for Northern Pacific heavyweight passenger cars. The set covers Pullmans, coaches, baggage and RPO as well as express cars. In addition, Rick did the correct lettering for a number of the road's gas electrics like B-12/14 and later St. Louis-built cars. The lettering is an imitation gold and is specially blended to go over dark colors like Pullman Green. It will shift color to a deep yellow tone. The set is currently available direct at $20 for two sheets. Each set will do four cars. Only 25 sets were produced so don't think about it too long.

The decal art was directly traced from photos for each letter and number. It is the most accurate set available. Rick had them printed by San Juan Decals. The screen work is fantastic picking even the lightest line weights on the of characters. Next up from RL is the super Northern Pacific diesel set that covers all styles and type used by the NP.

RL is currently selling their super diesel decal set that covers all eras and models. It is the definitive set. You can decal several models with the set. Preset number blocks are done for many of the common diesel types. The decals were printed by San Juan Decals using a custom ink that is designed to go over the black body color of the roads diesels.

Please note that Rick is now taking PayPal for payment as well as checks and money orders. Check out the catalog sheet for ordering information.


Red Cliffs Miniatures
2166 Thomas Trail
Santa Clara, UT 84765


Red Cliffs has new parts coming to market. They have released a new working switch stand. Red Cliffs also have a derail kit which includes working switch stand and a DVD on track and switch building. The DVD provides a clinic like the one Jim Harper presents at conventions.

The Red Cliffs Miniatures website is easy to use and allows ecommerce transactions.

San Juan Car Company
P. O. Box 1028
Durango, Colorado 81302
Phone: 970-385-5256

The new San Juan Evolution Type-E coupler has arrived in the country. The coupler is near-perfect scale rendering of the prototype standard gauge coupler. They made a few minor compromises to allow for automatic magnetic uncoupling. The coupler has the identical shank to the older Type-E working coupler. The coupler is available in brown and black They retail for $6.95 for two pair fully assembled.

The new frameless UTLX standard gauge tank has arrived as well. They should be in the hands of dealers and via the San Juan website.

San Juan will release the Rio Grande Fowler clone and WP double sheathed boxcars in the near future. Some of the dies require some rework before complete kits can be reissued.

Scale Hardware
1736 NE 16 Street
Ft Lauderdale, FL 33304
(954) 609-4108

Scale Hardware offers a wide range of small details machined from brass that will become an indispensable part of your parts selection.   The offer scale machined rivets and simulated square nuts and hex nut along with bolts.   In addition, you will find a range of very small threaded bolts, nuts and taps.   The smallest threaded bolt listed is .5 mm which as a .020” threaded body.  

Southern Car and Foundry
970 Sunshine Land, Suite D
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

SC&F is getting back to the train business after a brisk year of commercial model building. New kits are in the works and a reissue of the CPR minibox is expected soon. The Missouri Kansas and Texas singled sheathed boxcar continues to be offered. The kit features a one-piece body. Assembly involves detailing the urethane body and underframe. This includes all of the details but does require couplers, trucks and decals. The decals are available from Protocraft in either black or white lettering. The kit includes two types of door guides so any of the 95000 and 96000 series cars can be built. The prototype cars were painted in either chrome yellow with black lettering or freight car red with white lettering.


Wild Swan Publications, LTD
1-3 Hagbourne Road
Didcot, Oxon  OX11 8DP

Wild Swan Publications has a wide range of books on English railroading.  Recently, the published two soft-bound books on Modeling Trees by Gordon Gravett.  The first part covers Broadleaf trees and second on Conifers.   The basic technique involves build an armature (trunk) of florist wire and covering it with a mixture of plaster and PVA glue.  The author has illustrated the book with many model and actual tree photos along with a number of very useful techniques.  

A third volume is about to be released.  The latest book by Gordon Gravett deals with modeling grasslands and landscape detailing.  I have not seen the book yet.

I first learned of the books through Trevor Marshall and his Port Rowan blog.  It is S scale but he is an entertaining author and shows many techniques for layout building that work in any scale.   Visit Trevor's blog and enjoy.  http://themodelrailwayshow.com/cn1950s/

You will also enjoy seeing Gordon Gravett's work on a 1:50 scale French meter gauge railway.  Everything is scratchbuilt.  Stunning work to say the least.


Chooch Enterprises Inc.
P.O. Box 1200, Maple Valley, WA 98038

Chooch Enterprises has created a new page for the O scale parts. It includes a different ordering method than in the past. They are a key supplier of critical detail parts for rolling stock both freight and passenger.  Mike O'Connell recently mentioned that he has recently restocked all of the parts listed on his website.    You find really accurate details for boxcars and reefers as well as rebuilt passenger cars. 

The parts can be ordered directly from the Chooch website.

Chooch offers the most complete set of wood and steel door hardware available in O Scale.  This includes the Camel #32 top and the Camel #50 bottom roller.

Steel freight cars used this type of bracketed grab iron.  The part is intended to upgrade Intermountain parts.

This ladder and stirrup set is designed as an upgrade to the Intermountain boxcar hardware but can be used on other models as well.


Updated March 11, 2016